My enjoyment rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book hangover rating: 1 of 5 stars
Source: I received a copy of this book free from the author. I received no other compensation, and my thoughts are 100% my own.
Genre: Literary fiction
Objectionable material: None
Trooping the Colour, Order of the Garter, Royal Weddings…just a few of the ceremonies that have me glued to the Daily Mail and any royal Flickr-stream to continually feed my British Monarchy need.
So when a book is published with the title, Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, you can count on it being high on my “to read” stack!
The Queen, feeling a bit melancholy about the state of her life, reflects on what has made her most happy: The Royal Yacht Britannia. Guided by her instinct to reconnect to all those marvelous memories, The Queen takes a stroll beyond the BP (Buckingham Palace) compound, much to the angst of her cadre of advisers, protection officers and ladies in waiting. Once she is on the lam, The Queen leads her bevy of personnel on a circuitous escapade worthy of the title “trains, planes, and automobiles,” which lands them all in Leith, Scotland, where the decommissioned royal vessel is moored. Along the way relationships develop, truths learned, and The Queen is none the worse for wear.
I absolutely adored this novel. It fed every need for British escapism one could imagine: What would The Queen be like alone among commoners? Could she function on her own without her rigid schedule? Could she really be like “one of us?” "Would you recognize her on the outside?" It was fun to suspend belief about how The Queen functions both as a “Queen” and as a human being.
I suppose if one does not have a penchant for all things royal, this might not be the book for you – following The Queen on a train might get a bit tedious – but for the rest of us who haven’t missed a royal wedding since Charles & Diana, I highly recommend it.